SG, I don't know if we are more assertive than women in the startes but without asking anyone, I know of at least four Aussie women (one is Salsachinita) who ask guys to dance, so I imagine there's plenty more. Salsachinita's right, why waste valuable salsa-time!!!
If you come to Australia (and what better time than the Congress????) let me know and we'll dance with you. I'm sure Salsachinita will too!!
Its a strange thing in Salsa, there are many more men in it than women it seems. In our classes men often outnumber women, which is not as good a thing as it sounds.
As far as knowing how a stranger leads before you ask, well, you take pot luck really, unless you've seen them dancing.
Hmm, I wonder if Salseras from down under may be more outgoing than women from the states? At least where I go dancing, its very rare to see a lady ask a man to dance. Especially if its someone they don't know, its almost never happens!
I´ve had girls ask me to dance that were complete strangers. On the top of my head there were at least three who I had never seen before in my life. They were all less experienced than me. Anyway, I always accept and usually ask them later on during the night. I think it takes a lot of guts to do something like that. I admire woman that do that.
About three weeks ago, a girl who I didn´t know also asked me to dance with her - twice on the same night. A week later, I saw her again and she asked me to dance with her 5 times! :shock: Amazing. We danced 6 times (I asked her to dance once). She told me that she didn´t mind asking guys to dance. Great and rare attitude!
Regarding your question, I believe most girls when they ask a complete stranger prefer asking a guy more advanced than themselves. Why? Because most of the good leads would not normally ask them for a dance.
You NEVER turn a lady down who asks you to dance! Any lady who asks me to dance ALWAYS gets a YES! And I've met some great ladies and followers this way. I agree with the previous post, it takes guts to ask someone you don't know to dance, but this is also something you should get over--it's only a dance! I live in the SF Bay area, and one of the best followers here is a lady named Rita. When my friend and I first started going out to the clubs, she would come right up to us and say,"You both better ask me for a dance tonite--don't make me hunt you down!" So we would and she is GREAT! I think this goes a long way to building up beginning leader confidence. I know when I was starting I got a lot of "mercy" dances by ladies who were much better than I. I think that's what so great about the Salsa scene--people are social and generous in their encouragement. You just eventually get over the shyness and get out there and dance! If I go to a club and see a lady sitting in the corner, I go up and ask her because I remember what it was like when I was starting out.